November 9, 2011 4:11 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
check out MS11-083 to understand a current Windows Update patch worth applying
, November 2011 security updates include a high-urgency item
Check out this flaming headline from Ryan Naraine on his “Zero Day” blog over at ZDNet (he’s long been one of my favorite Windows security mavens and like my other favorite, Lenny Zeltser, pretty much always tells it like it is):
Scary stuff demands immediate sysadmin attention
Further investigation of the latest Microsoft Secuirty Bulletin Summary for November 2011 associates this vulnerability with ID MS11-083 and its associated Knowledge Base article KB2588516. When MS urges treating something with utmost priority that’s as close to “damn the torpedos, full speed ahead with deployment” as they ever come in their instructions and advice. It’s definitely time to put this one on the testing and deployment schedule, and perhaps even to invoke the emergency weekend update clause for your enterprise (or however you rush urgent patches out into the field).
The other November patches for this month (there are 4 in all) deal with Windows Mail and Windows Meeting Space (MS11-085, Important rating, Remote Code Execution vulnerability), Active Directory (MS11-086, Important rating, Elevation of Privilege vulnerability), and Windows Kernel-Mode Drivers (MS11-084, Moderate rating, Denial of Service vulnerability). Oh, and there’s the usual beginning-of-month update to the Malicious Software Removal Tool out in this latest batch of Windows Update materials as well.
But the MS11-083 item is a real humdinger that demands immediate attention. Better scramble the jets and let management know you’ll be working this weekend (or whenever you can push this puppy into production).
November 9, 2011 3:51 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
CompTIA Cloud Essentials exam to launch in December 2011
, CompTIA gets into cloud computing credentials
In perusing the press releases at the CompTIA Website this morning, I came across an item dated November 8, 2011, and entitled “CompTIA and ITpreneurs Collaborate on New Cloud Computing Credential.” The credential is called the CompTIA Cloud Essentials exam and it’s intended to provide a vendor-neutral take on cloud-based computing technology both from the nuts-and-bolts technology side and from a business perspective as well. Additional emphasis is placed on understanding the processes and changes involved in migrating to a cloud-based architecture, and in monitoring and managing such environments as well.
Title blurb and logo for Cloud Essentials
This exam is slated to go live in December, 2011, and consists of 50 questions administered in a one-hour time slot. The cut score is 72 percent (36 out of 50 questions correct, in other words), and the exam ID is CLO-001. No pricing information is available as yet, but it will probably be between $180 and $250 in keeping with other typical CompTIA exam price points. Stay tuned to the CompTIA Website for more information and “go live” date and cost information.
November 7, 2011 3:32 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
GoCertify comments on IDC Security Management Certificaition analysis/report
In reading over Anne Martinez’ latest Certification Watch newsletter (Volume 14 #13) I couldn’t help but catch and wonder about her summaries of some recent IDC MarketScape profiles that analyze markets for various important IT certification subject areas, along with vendors or sponsors that offer credentials for those subject areas. In fact, I saw a few stunning surprises in the very brief summaries she produces, as follows (surprises are in bold):
- Security Management: CompTIA, Microsoft, Symantec
- Networking: HP, IBM, Novell
- Server Management: IBM
The original IDC reports cost $15,000 a pop for 24 pages of graphs, figures, and analysis. The companies that come in for specific mention by name are Cisco, CompTIA, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, and Symantec. Perhaps this helps to explain the “surprises” that I noticed in Anne’s listings of the various market leaders and so forth in her GoCertify summary. But while I’d love to peruse this item, there’s no way I’m going to shell out $15K for that privilege, nor do I suspect that many who don’t have substantial investments in the IT cert biz are likely to pony up, either.
What I can say is that I’m surprised to see Microsoft show up in the security management category, because they have no substantial current security certifications outside the MCTS program, and even there, security is covered primarily in the context of specific platforms or products rather than as a specialty in its own right (unlike the CompTIA Security+ and its emerging advanced security practitioner or CASP credential, by contrast, or the Symantec EndPoint Protection certification). In fact, neither the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) nor the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) credentials offer a security specialization or track per se, though of course security topics do come up all over the place across the whole spectrum of MS credentials.
It’s also surprising to see Novell showing up on anybody’s IT certification radar, particularly in the area of networking (though the company’s Zenworks and various server platforms certainly do entail a great deal of networking knowledge and experience). In the same vein, I’m wondering what it is about the HP and IBM programs that also bring them into the “top networking” stable. In HP’s case, it might be the routers, switches and infrastructure elements in the ProCurve product family, and the technology transfer that accrued from their acquisition of 3COM awhile back. In IBM’s case, it could be any of a number of technology areas, particularly the network management stuff that hearkens back to the Tivoli days.
Hmmm. Very interesting. Nice, but a little weird, to see these technology colossi registering on somebody’s IT certification radar. And it does reaffirm the notion that looking into certification from vendors whose products are widely recognized in the workplace remains a viable technique for identifying programs and credentials worth pursuing. If you want to try to dredge more meaning out of the IDC materials on their recent Marketplace report, please do so with my blessing. As for myself, I’m equal parts bemused and confused by what I can find by way of hard facts and illustrations from IDC on these subjects.
November 4, 2011 3:14 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
November 2011 employment situation summary provides more of the same old same old
, only modest gains in October 2011 employment show the painfully slow uptick continues unchanged
OK, so the October numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics are out this morning. They show a very modest 80,000 increase in employment for September, along with a negligible decrease in overall “official” unemployment from 9.1 to 9.0 percent. Not much improvement seems to spell not much hope for injecting more vigor into our lackluster economic recovery, nor much by way of expectations as we close out the third year since the events of 2008 triggered a worldwide economic slowdown.
More teeny-tiny additions to the labor force
If there’s one modest ray of sunshine in this latest report, it’s probably best represented by Table A-14 “Unemployed persons by industry and class of worker, not seasonally adjusted.” Here’s a data snippet with header and entries that represents what I’m getting at.
|Snippet from 11/4/2011 Employment Situation Summary Table A-14
|Industry & class of worker
|Professional & business svcs
It looks like things have improved substantially for the sectors that matter most for IT (32% for Information, and 13% for Professional and Business Services) in the past year. But this is a case of seemingly good numbers that are not matched by equally good or optimistic feelings. As I have said so many times before in the past few months, the IT employment outlook remains in “hunker down” mode until the general employment logjamb clears, and employers become more bullish on hiring more permanent workers.
Sigh. Makes me wonder what lies ahead for 2012, except more of the same. Could this be the “death of one thousand miniscule monthly employment gains?” Maybe so! Perhaps that’s better than the “death of one thousand miniscule mothly employment cuts” but who’s got the strength or patience to make that call?
November 2, 2011 8:35 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
000th certification granted
, BCFP and BCFA get 16 Gbps FC update
, Brocade announces 20
I’ve started a monthly phone call with Joe Cannata, Brocade’s Senior Manager for Business Development and Certification at Brocade University in Alpharetta Georgia. This afternoon, I was made privy to numerous bits of interesting and noteworthy information about Brocade’s certification programs and offerings.
First and probably foremost to Brocade, the company handed out its 20,000 certification credential on October 23, 2011, to a very nice-looking gentleman named Ken Smith, an employee at Brocade partner company Walker & Associates. Ken was no doubt surprised to be showered with so much attention, and even a few prizes (some Brocade-branded merchandise and a digital picture frame), upon earning his Brocade Certified Network Professional (BNCP) credential. I’m happy to add my congratulations to all parties involved!
On a more serious note, Brocade has also updated its heavy-duty storage-area networking credentials for 16 Gbps Fibre Channel technologies, including the Brocade Certified Fabric Administrator (BCFA) and Brocade Certified Fabric Professional (BCFP) certifications. And according to Joe Cannata, a brand-new Brocade Certified Service Provider Network Engineer credential, with matching exam, is slated to go live on November 14, 2011. This credential is essentially a specialized version of the company’s BCNE (Brocade Certified Network Engineer) credential, with an emphasis on service provider protocols and technologies that include MPLS, IPv6, BGP, VVRP-E, multi-tasking trunking configurations, MRP, PRP, and QoS coverage. Interested networking professionals will want to keep an eye on the Brocade certification page for related news and information.
October 31, 2011 2:48 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
bad economy explains slow Windows 7 enterprise uptake
, Windows 7 enterprise adoptions remain slow and spotty
Egad! It’s a tough, tough business serving the needs of the enterprise desktop. As I read this recent story (October 20) in ComputerWorld (CW) this morning entitled “Windows 7 is on a (slow) roll,” my jaw kept dropping further and further throughout. By the time I had finished reading, it had nearly reached the floor. Here’s the deal:
- Despite plans that called for Pella Corporation to upgrade half of its 5,000 desktops to Windows 7 by the end of 2010, with the rest to follow by the end of 2011, as of October 2011, the company had upgraded only 1,800 PCs. The remainder are still running Windows XP.
- A September CW poll of its readers revealed that while 88 percent of organizations say a movement to Windows 7 has begun or is in the planning stages, 82% of those same respondents say they’re also still running Windows XP, while 73% admit to running Windows 7 as well. Only 55% expect to transition to Windows 7 by the end of 2012, 34% will move over before MS brings XP support to an end in April 2014, and an astonishing 11% says they’ll keep running XP on production machines even after that date!
- Even Microsoft says that only one in four enterprises runs Windows 7 today, though CW also attributes MS Senior Director Erwin Visser (for the MS Client Commercial Group) as saying “…enterprise adoptions is growing fast.”
Here’s the chart that tells an interesting story, as of September 2011:
Who is doing what and when with Win7 in the enterprise?
The CW story concludes by offering a sluggish economy, or shrinking markets, as the primary reason for the delay. Pella, in particular, is subject to a weak housing industry and has extended its usual PC refresh cycles from 3.5 to 5 years. Other enterprises have their own specific tales of woe, but all are subject to the foibles of a weak economy.
October 31, 2011 2:29 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
killer deal for training and 70-659 exam
, MS offers Jump Start courses on Virtualization
Microsoft offers some great accelerated classes called “Jump Starts” through its online learning division for a mere $99. Last week (October 25) they announced some new dates for their extremely popular 70-659 exam “Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization Jump Start.” On November 2 (Wednesday) and December 1 (exactly one month from tomorrow) you can tune in to learn about this exam from Microsoft Technical Evangelist Symon Perriman and MS Technical Instructor Philip Helsel on this topic.
You might ask: “What makes the Jump Start a good enough deal that I’m willing to blog about it?” Here’s why: by itself the day of training (8 hours) is probably worth $99. But when you sign up for the Jump Start, you also get an exam voucher for the related exam (70-659) as well. And because normal retail pricing for that exam is $150, you’re sort of getting the training for free, and a $51 discount on the exam along with it.
Purple prose from Microsoft
This is simply too good a deal to pass up. Register now to get in on the training, and the exam discount. The hours may be a bit wonky (8am – 4pm PDT on 11/2/2011 and 10pm-6am EDT on 12/1/2011) depending on your time zone, but the value of this offering is indisputable. Be ready to hit the ground running in this class though: it is designed for those who already know their way around MS virtualization tools and techniques, not for rank beginners.
October 28, 2011 1:35 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
CEUs for CompTIA certs count toward all credentials that require maintenance
, understanding CompTIA continuing education requirements
As of January 1, 2011, the CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications must be renewed on a three-year cycle. What I didn’t know until one of my HP Learning Center students asked me, was that you can count the CEUs (“Continuing Education Units”) you must earn to maintain cert currency more than one toward keeping multiple CompTIA Certifications current. Of course, you can always elect to re-take the latest exam every three years instead, if you prefer…
Keeping an A+ current requires earning 20 CEUs over the three-year renewal period, while maintaining the Network+ and Security+ require 30 and 50 CEUs respectively. But if you go all the way to keeping your Security+ current, and also hold the A+ and Network+, those 50 CEUs cover you for all three credentials in one swell foop.
Here’s the relevant language from the CompTIA CEU FAQ:
Q: I hold multiple CompTIA certifications. Am I required to renew each of them?
A: No. Individuals with multiple CompTIA certifications are encouraged to participate in CE at the highest level of certification held. For example, someone who holds CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ certifications would be required to meet only the continuing education requirements for CompTIA Security+.
Completion of CE for CompTIA Security+ would grant the participant with a CompTIA Security+ce, and simultaneously grant a new CompTIA A+ce and CompTIA Network+ce. Please note you must have a certification for it to be applicable as part of the CE program. No certification is granted through CE participation, only renewed.
It’s always good to know how things really work when it comes to important details like maintaining cert currency, so I’m glad to share this with my readers.
October 26, 2011 2:17 PM
Posted by: Ed Tittel
check your local community college for cert training
, community colleges offer killer MS training deals
When I posted a notice to LinkedIn yesterday to announce a new story for Tom’s IT Pro entitled “Most Bang for Your IT Certification Bucks” I got a very nice reply from online friend and occasional collaborator Joli Ballew who not coincidentally just earned her MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer) credential and is also teaching full-time at Brookhaven Community College in Farmer’s Branch, TX.
Brookhaven is just one of many community colleges to offer killer cert training deals
She told me about a set of classes taught through their Microsoft Academy affiliation that cost $200 to study up for various Microsoft certs on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. The classes cost $200 each, and students not only get a free copy of Windows Server 2008 (original and R2) and a copy of Winodws 7 Professional, they also get free access to the rest of the Microsoft software catalog with, as Joli put it in an e-mail to me “…product IDs that do not expire.” And of course, those same students also get access to high-quality instructor led training and a fully-equipped study lab that lets them learn to use this stuff in a well-run and -supervised environment, with access to instructors or lab assistants if they run into trouble, or get stuck trying to figure something out.
Sure, you can only take advantage of the Brookhaven offerings if you live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex area, but that’s not really the point of this blog, even if it is a true killer education deal. The real point of this blog is that over 2,000 community colleges in the US belong to the Microsoft Academy program as well, and also offer similar deals to would-be certification candidates ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. As you’re planning your next certification campaign, or thinking about how to prep for a cert exam, don’t forget to check out these amazing educational outlets, with all of the great instructors and resources they have to offer!